OKFB Policyholder Recognized with Medal of Honor

OKFB Insurance learned of longtime policyholder Dwight Birdwell’s story from his insurance agent, Rick Roberts. We share his story in honor of his service and in memory of countless other service men and women who sacrificed their lives and safety to create a better world.

On January 31, 1968, Dwight Birdwell found himself fixed upon a disabled tank with enemy fire coming from seemingly all sides outside Tan Son Nhut, an air base outside of Saigon, South Vietnam. This was a far cry from the hay fields of Bell, Oklahoma where Dwight had spent his childhood learning to farm from his father and honoring his Cherokee heritage and culture. On July 5, 2022, Dwight received the Medal of Honor for his bravery and heroic efforts during his service in Korea and Vietnam.

Dwight enlisted in the army in 1966 after graduating high school and shortly thereafter was sent to Korea after attending training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Eventually, Dwight found himself as a member of the 4th Cavalry Regiment, 25th Division, popularly known as Three-Quarter Horse.

On that fateful day in January, Dwight’s Troop C was ordered to help secure the Tan Son Nhut Air Base from enemy troops. After the lead tank had taken intense fire and become inoperable, Dwight quickly moved into action to use what defense systems were left on the tank and to protect his fellow soldiers from the barrage of bullets, rockets and grenade fire. After his tank commander was shot, Dwight helped move him to safety and began to fire the .50-caliber machine gun while also using the 90mm main gun to push enemy forces back. Dwight attributes some of his reaction to his childhood experiences.

“Growing up on a farm you learn to adapt to situations quickly,” said Dwight. “That—and I’ll make no bone about it—I owe the credit to God.”

After exhausting the 90mm gun and machine gun, Dwight moved to a wounded helicopter nearby while firing his M-16 rifle in an effort to collect two M60 machine guns and ammunition that were aboard the helicopter. Afterward, he helped other wounded soldiers and remounted the tank with one of his M60s, and he continued to fire back on the enemy. Despite sustaining many injuries to his neck, chest and arms, Dwight refused medical attention so he and his fellow soldiers could continue their defense.

After the events of that day, the air base was secured. Dwight would later be honored with a Silver Star for his efforts and would go on to earn two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service during his time in Vietnam. He would also earn a second Silver Star for his bravery in rescuing more Americans who became stranded in a battle zone during a conflict on July 4, 1968.

Although many years have passed since his time in Korea and Vietnam, Dwight still vividly remembers the rice fields and the people who farmed them.

“During my time in Vietnam, I developed an immense respect for the local farming community,” said Dwight. “The people were trying to provide for their families and villages and being an Oklahoma farm kid, I could relate.”

After returning stateside in 1968, Dwight would go on to get married and start a family. He earned his law degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1976 and has enjoyed a fascinating career that led him to serve on the Judicial Appeal Tribunal (Supreme Court) of the Cherokee Nation.

After a decades-long campaign by Vietnam Army General Glenn Otis to have Dwight’s Silver Star upgraded, Dwight received the Medal of Honor from President Joe Biden in the summer of 2022. Dwight Birdwell is the 33rd Native American to earn the Medal of Honor.

At OKFB, we are proud to know and help such an extraordinary individual and applaud his service to our country. Congratulations, Dwight!


Three Things We’re Thankful For This Year

Thanksgiving is just around the corner: time for us to gather with friends, family and loved ones and reflect on the good things in our lives. While the last few years have dealt more than their fair share of twists, turns and unexpected challenges, we still have a lot to be thankful for. At OKFB Insurance, thankfulness is a constant state of being. We are thankful to have the privilege of serving Oklahomans, our neighbors, when they need it most. Here are just a couple of things we’re reflecting on as we enter the holiday season.

The Strength of Community

With OKFB Insurance agents in all 77 counties of Oklahoma, we get the unique opportunity to get to know a whole lot of Oklahomans. From farmers and ranchers to local business owners to individuals working to build a good life for their families, the people we get to meet and help along the way show just how lucky we are to be Oklahomans. Despite the ups and downs and challenges of life, we constantly see neighbors helping neighbors and communities stepping up to the plate to help us all grow together.

The Resilience of Oklahomans

A fact of life working in the insurance field is that we’re often called in when life’s dealt someone a bad hand. Sometimes we’re stepping in to help local businesses recover after a fire, damage or theft. Other times, we’re there to help families stay afloat after losing a loved one. Our team is also there for the day-to-day issues that can hold up your life, like when you find yourself out of gas or with a flat tire and in need of Roadside Rescue. Time and time again, no matter the issue, we are there for our policyholders and get to witness people pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and confronting life’s challenges.

The Tireless Work of Agents

We are also thankful for the service our agents and adjusters provide in tandem to take care of our policyholders. Recently, one of our dedicated OKFB Insurance adjusters came forward to share a story about agent Brian Kelly going above the call of duty for his insureds. We wanted to share adjuster Todd DeSmet’s account below.

At 4 a.m. on Oct. 19th, Brian received a call from an insured whose home was on fire. The insured was not only surprised that his agent answered his early morning call, but also sprang into action. Brian made sure the insured was safely outside of the house and then made preparations to go to the policyholder’s home to check on them.

“I want to commend agent Brian Kelly for making an already great company better,” said adjuster Todd DeSmet. “Not only did he physically meet our insured in their time of need, but he brought changes of clothing for the policyholder and his wife.”

Todd emphasizes that we have a lot of unsung heroes at OKFB Insurance and he was just proud to witness one in action. “When you have an opportunity to give someone an atta boy, you take it,” said Todd. “It encourages others around them to keep doing what they’re doing and go the extra mile. That’s definitely what Brian did.” Our agents’ tireless drive to serve Oklahoma’s businesses and families is clear and we’re so thankful to have team members with this kind of commitment.

We’re Here to Help

Whether you’re a long-time policyholder or just starting to look for insurance options, we have team members who can help. If you have questions or concerns that you want to discuss, connect with your local OKFB agent today. If you’re an existing policyholder who knows of an OKFB Insurance agent or employee that you feel is deserving of recognition for going the extra mile, we’d love to hear about it! Click here to share your story.

Don’t forget to follow us on social media! This kind of information and more is just a click away. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

These Are a Few of Our Favorite (2021) Things

We know that 2021 was an uncertain time for many Oklahomans, but there’s one thing you can always be sure of – Oklahoma Farm Bureau Insurance is here for you. Despite the hard times, we have a lot to be thankful for and we want to take a moment to express our gratitude and reflect on our top 3 favorite moments from last year.

#1: Sam Barrick raised $25,000 for the Ronald McDonald House

Last year, OKFB agent Sam Barrick led an effort in Love County to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House. He raised an incredible $25,000, which helped provide a comfortable space in the Ronald McDonald House for families that have a child hospitalized in OKC. Sam Barrick is living proof that Oklahomans have big hearts. Thanks, Sam, for all you do!

Oklahoma Farm Bureau Insurance Agents helped raise $25,000 for the Ronald McDonald House.

#2: Oklahoma Farm Bureau Insurance’s 75th Anniversary

In 2021, we celebrated our 75th Anniversary! We’re honored that so many of you have trusted us to take care of your homes, your farms, your businesses and your families over the last 75 years. Together, we’ve been through a lot and every day we’re inspired by your resilience, strength and character. Thank you for welcoming us into your communities and homes. We look forward to serving Oklahomans for many years to come.

#3: A New Feature Just for You

Anything we can do to make your lives easier – no matter how small – is a big win for us. That’s why in 2021, we rolled out a new feature that allows you to opt-in to receive email notifications for:

  • Changes made to a policy
  • Renewal notices
  • Billing statements

We’re happy to make these processes seamless and more convenient. If you haven’t signed up for email notifications yet, contact your Oklahoma Farm Bureau Insurance agent today to make the change!

Thank you for your business, support and friendship. Because of you, we know great things are in store in 2022.